Singapore's New International Magnet

Travelers bound for Singapore in coming years will have a variety of new lodging and entertainment choices with the opening of the 121-acre Resorts World at Sentosa. Rendering of the 121-acre project

Development of this project—with six hotels providing more than 1,800 rooms, a Universal Studios Singapore, multiple marine and maritime diversions, and an ESPA destination spa—is estimated at S$5.2 billion, or about $3.4 billion U.S., including land cost.

It will have nine major attractions, including Universal Studios Singapore, EquariusWaterPark, Quest Marine Life and XperientialMaritimeMuseum.

Equarius Water Park will blend the elements of a high-tech water park with Sentosa's original forest and its tropical foliage. Quest Marine Life will include what will be the world's largest aquarium, home to up to 700,000 aquatic animals, such as open-ocean fish and bat rays, and a 6.6-million-gallon lagoon where people can snorkel and dive with whale sharks.

Xperiential Maritime Museum will give visitors a look at maritime

Silk Route
history, with displays of treasures from ancient wrecks and trade goods from Africa and the Middle East. Visitors will be able to board a vessel that sank near Singapore 1,100 years ago.

Universal Studios Singapore will be the brand's largest theme park in Asia, providing 22 attractions—at least 16 of them designed for the new park—within seven themed worlds. Among the attractions at the new park will be a "Journey to Madagascar" venue and a DreamWorks digital animation studio.

Visitors will find shopping, dining and entertainment spots at FestiveWalk, along with three public amphitheaters. An ESPA spa resort will provide spa and wellness services, as well as 42 private ESPA villas. There will be six hotels in all at Resorts World. Another is Hotel Michael, designed by architect Michael Graves, whose firm, Michael Graves and Associates, also designed the overall project. The others are Maxims Residences, Festive Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Equarius Hotel.

The 1,600-seat Le Vie theater will feature a show developed by members of the same creative team behind such Cirque du Soleil shows as Ka and O in Las Vegas. The resort also will include an international casino and a private, personal-service Maxims Club for high-end gaming.

Sentosa can be reached by bus across the SentosaCausewayBridge or by cable car from MountFaber and HarbourFront Centre. The Sentosa Express, a light rail system launching soon, also will provide links to Sentosa from VivoCity, HarbourFront and St. James Powerhouse. The island already is the site of such diversions as Underwater World Singapore and Dolphin Lagoon, as well as gardens, beaches and other natural attractions.

The concept for the new integrated resort was developed by [email protected] Bay Pte. Ltd., a joint venture between Genting International and Star Cruises. Genting International has developed resorts in such destinations as Malaysia and Australia; Star Cruises is the world's third-largest cruise operator.

Construction is set to start early this year, with soft launch at the end of 2009 and official opening early 2010. Planners expect the resort will draw 15 million visitors in 2010.